Mario Gomez’s Napoli link another hint at the club’s inevitable changes


There’s little doubt Mario Gomez is going to leave Bayern Munich, but increasingly, it seems as if the current Bayern German international will follow the lead of another former Bayern German international and head south. Just as Miroslav Klose’s game seemed like a nice fit of the Serie A before a left for Lazio, so does Gomez seem a natural fit for the Italian league.

Yet Napoli is a particular type of team within the league. We talked about it before in reference to Rafa Benítez, but others smarter than us have noted part of Napoli’s success is owed to being a team that’s effective along its flanks in a league that’s come to eschew wide play. Combined with talents like Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik, Hugo Campagnaro and Morgan Di Sanctis, Napoli’s approach has promoted their climb to Serie A elite.

But just as the switch from Walter Mazzarri to Benítez hints the team’s distinct style may be changing, so does the potential acquisition of Gomez. Last night, German outlet Bild reported a transfer is approach, with the fee expected to be around $26 million. While you could argue the 27-year-old German’s purchase could be to augment the team that’s already in place — adding a productive striker to a team that needs more depth before rejoining Champions League — the acquisition seems like insurance. If Edinson Cavani were staying in Naples, that $26 million would be better used elsewhere.

It goes without saying that Gomez is no Cavani, but beyond mere production, his talents are much more limited. While he would be a decent fit for the more controlling approaches Benítez has deployed at his previous stops, he wouldn’t be a good fit for Mazzarri’s approach.

All of which is a long way of stating the obvious: The Napoli that many have come to love is about to change. Benítez will bring in his own approach, a change that would be confirmed if Cavani’s sale and Gomez’s capture help fund a rebuilt squad.

Bild is also reporting Fiorentina’s interest in Gomez, thought it’s unclear they could win a bidding war against Napoli. Still, the rumor gives hope for fans who want the days of Mazzarri’s Napoli to last a little longer. It may be futile, and it may not even be the best thing for the team, but if the change of style Benítez is bringing in can be held off a little longer, the Napoli faithful can enjoy a few more hours with the team Mazzarri built.